The Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission (JAMAKON) and Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), a non-profit organization headquarted in Los Angeles, California, just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in bringing human rights education to the youth of Bangladesh.
Signed by the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman, and the International Activities Director of Youth for Human Rights International, Mr. Ruslan Khusainov, the Memorandum of Understanding states that its objective is to “facilitate and coordinate cooperation between the two parties in the areas of mutual interest and particularly in the area of developing youth education and training programs on Human Rights in Bangladesh.” It aims to implement YHRI’s human rights-based education and training programs in universities, schools and law enforcement agencies.
Over the years, myriad human rights violations have come to light in Bangladesh spanning all manner of societal groups, from workers’ rights (with the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building, killing more than 1,100 people) and women’s rights to minority rights and freedom of speech issues.
The principle behind Youth for Human Rights International is that such problems are not specific to any group but have as their common denominator a lack of understanding of what human rights actually are, and the fact that these rights are inalienable to any human being no matter where they are.
Thus it is believed that the education of youth in human right will set a firm base for a new Bangladesh where human rights are known and respected and the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated.
Youth for Human Rights International has as its objective the education of youth, and it hopes, through its programs, to inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights became the specific educational focus of the program after surveys showed that less than 10 percent of the population knew of the existence of the Declaration and even fewer could name more than one or two of the 30 basic rights articulated in the document.
An array of educational materials was created to rectify this situation, including the booklet “What are Human Rights?” which contains a fully illustrated version of the Declaration that makes human rights understandable for young people and 30 short video clips that each show one of the 30 basic human rights.
Since its establishment in 2001, YHRI has grown into a global movement with hundreds of groups, clubs and chapters around the world, including its Bangladeshi chapter headed by Md. Mahbubur Rahman as the director and coordinator.
Worldwide more than 500,000 students have since been empowered with human rights education, and over 12,000 schools have implemented the Youth for Human Rights curriculum.